Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken with Creamy Mustard Marsala Sauce

I LOVE pasta. To me, there's nothing better than my mom's homemade spaghetti - it's just comfort food to me. I also love a good cream sauce over pastas because they are warm, inviting, and just plain tastey! Pasta is also one of the very few things that I will eat the next day. Leftovers just aren't my favorite, but pasta always seems to hold up and be just as flavorful (if not more flavorful!) the next day. I found this recipe and thought that it was a wonderful combination of traditional Chicken Marsala but with a little extra kick from the Dijon mustard and rich creaminess from the marscarpone cheese. It comes together easily and could be used for a date night or on a night you want a rich, home-cooked meal.

When choosing mushrooms for this recipe, just go with ones you like. You can choose any variety you like and are familiar with (like a cremini, which is readily available at the supermarket) or branch out and try a new variety. Anything you choose will be great! I decided to go with Baby Bellas (baby portabella mushrooms) because they are small and easy to slice but still maintain the full, beefy flavor of a good portabella mushroom.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!!

Chicken with Creamy Mustard Marsala Sauce

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced
Ground black pepper
2 T. Olive Oil
5 T. butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 T. minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
12 ounces pasta noodles (like fettuccine or spaghetti noodles)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.
While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta noodles and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss the fettuccine with 3 tablespoons of butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Swirl the fettuccine onto serving plates. Spoon the chicken mixture over top. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

Adapted slightly from Giada DiLaurentiis

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

Pineapple Upsidedown cake is my brother's favorite cake and he always gets one for his birthday. This year, since he was turning 30 and having a party, I decided that I'd put a twist on this traditional classic. I decided to make individual cupcakes for each guest. This recipe is great because it's easy to double, is moist and delicious, and keeps people coming back for more!

For the cupcakes, adding the pineapple juice really makes a difference because it incorporates the flavors of the topping. As a side note, I played around with the pineapple I used. Originally, the recipe called for crushed pineapple. I found that this made the topping stick to the cupcake pans and didn't come out looking quite so clean and pretty. The tidbits are small enough to fit on the cupcake and really made a difference. That being said, if your topping happens to stick slightly to the cupcake pan - DON'T PANIC! You can just scrape it off with a spoon and carefully arrange it atop the cupcake. No one will ever know! :)
Also, adding the sour cream to the batter makes this cake ultra moist and creamy - the cupcakes can sit out at a party without you having to worry they are getting dry. Once you make these, you can set them out and kick back and enjoy the party!


1 stick butter, melted
3/4 C. brown sugar, packed
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice- drained, juice reserved
12 maraschino cherries - drained and halved

1 box yellow cake mix
1 C. sour cream
1/2 C. pineapple juice (reserved from pineapple tidbits)
1/3 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
flour for dusting pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist 24 cupcake cups with cooking spray and dust with flour.

For the topping, measure 1 tsp. of melted butter into each cupcake cup. Sprinkle with 1 heaping teaspoon of brown sugar on the melted butter. Spread about 1 T of the pineapple tidbits on top of the brown sugar. Gently place a cherry half in the center and push it down so the cherry is at the bottom, touching the pan.

For the cupcakes, blend cake mix, sour cream, pineapple juice, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl. Blend on medium speed until the batter is smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Spoon about 1/3 C of batter into each cupcake cup.

Bake at 350 degrees until the cupcakes are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger - about 20 - 22 minutes. Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cupcakes to loosen and invert onto a platter. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Recipe Roundup!!

She's BAAACK! After MONTHS (that felt like years!) my new kitchen is finally complete. My husband and I are still trying to get the house painted and decorated in time for the baby - only 9 more weeks! However, I have begun cooking again and it feels great! I have a few recipes that I am excited to post, so look for those in the next few days/ week. I am going to try to post regularly again and I hope that I am able to share more recipes with you!

I also got harassed by my uncle that I have to update my blog otherwise he's deleting it! haha. I better get on the ball with this! So, thanks for being patient and sticking with me through the house remodel and baby preparations!

Looking forward to cooking with you again,